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Columbia man wins big on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Veterans Week show

Craig Augenstein, a Navy veteran from Columbia, SC, will appear on “Wheel of Fortune” on Friday, Nov. 8.
Craig Augenstein, a Navy veteran from Columbia, SC, will appear on “Wheel of Fortune” on Friday, Nov. 8. Provided photo, Wheel of Fortune

A U.S. Navy veteran from Columbia is $15,000 richer after fulfilling a “once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list” experience on “Wheel of Fortune.”

Craig Augenstein, a local real estate agent, was the big winner on Friday night’s show. He was one of 15 contestants selected to play on Veterans Week.

Augenstein bested his two fellow contestants, winning $15,400 in cash and prizes, including a trip to Costa Rica.

As the night’s winner, he competed in the bonus round, where he was unable to solve a doozy of a final puzzle: “Buffalo jerky.”

“I had the hardest bonus round puzzle I’ve ever seen,” Augenstein told The State.

Augenstein’s show was filmed in early October. He had submitted an online video to the show a year ago and auditioned in Myrtle Beach earlier this year.

“I really feel like I played my game. I was happy with my game,” he said. “I’d done a lot of research. I’d been practicing on the app. I’d been recording (the show) every night.”

Augenstein served for five years in the U.S. Navy. A 1987 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he served for three and a half years as an officer on a nuclear submarine based out of Charleston.

He and his wife, Kelly, have been “Wheel of Fortune” fans for 20 years.

Sarah Ellis has reported on Columbia and Richland County since 2014. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in journalism.
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